Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Cup final was also quite typical: none of the better known clubs reached the final. Zaglebie (Sosnowiec) and Polonia (Bytom) met at the final.

For Polonia, the season was certainly a great one – promotion to top flight, and a chance to win the Cup. They never won anything before, yet, they were second-division club... enthusiasm, ambition, were good so far and no further. They fought and lost minimally – 0-1. May be experience was just enough to clinch the Cup.

Zaglebie had good season by their standards, finishing 5th in the championship. Strong year, crowned by winning the Cup for third time. There isn't much to say about them – Cups they won now and then, but for the big title they were never good enough.

The title was won by Slask (Wroclaw). Slask were never champions before, in fact the only trophy they ever won was the Polish Cup in 1976. The squad was experienced, still the same, running high, those were the best years for the Army club, playing largely second-division football not all that long ago.

Champions at last! Champions indeed – they left Widzew 3 points behind. One confusing to foreigners element of the this team was the name 'Wladyslaw Zmuda': two men with this very name were part of the champion squad – the coach and the captain of the team. The coach was not only former Slask player, but quite young as well – many a foreigner confused him with the Polish national team central defender, known from the 1974 World Cup. Was the 23-years old star coaching as well as playing, or was the coach, 37 years old that year, still playing? In the club history the problem is solved traditionally – Zmuda I, meaning the older guy, and Zmuda II, who was to become yet one of the few footballers playing in 4 World Cup finals. Anyhow, Slask deserves one more look:

Crouching, from left: Janusz Sybis, Mieczyslaw Olesiak, Roman Faber, Tadeusz Pawlowski, Jan Erlich.

Standing: Henryk Kowalczyk, Jozef Kwiatkowski, Zygmunt Kalinowski, Zygmunt Garlowski, Mieczyslaw Kopycki, Wladislaw Zmuda.

Pretty much the same boys who won the Cup the previous year, now doing even better. Few occasional national team players, but the big name is only one: Wladyslaw Zmuda. Zmuda II. Well done by the club, excellent achievement, joy in Wroclaw, all that, but the team was not all that great by European standards.